Oil Industry Suing EPA For Breaking Their Own Rules

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The American Petroleum Institute (API) sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday evening, claiming the agency violated its own rules to regulate methane emissions.

API, a trade association that represents America’s oil and natural gas industry, filed a lawsuit stating the EPA violated federal regulations to reinterpret parts of the Clean Air Act, so that it could regulate methane. The association has called on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the agency’s actions.

“The Clean Air Act provides specific limitations on the way the EPA can develop regulations,” Reid T. Porter, a spokesperson for API, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In this instance, EPA did not adhere to the statutory requirements when it expanded the rule to include methane.”

The EPA unveiled its new methane rules in June, claiming they would attempt to reduce methane emissions from hydraulically fractured, or fracked, oil and natural gas. The EPA’s own data shows methane emissions have declined as fracking increased natural gas production, but the environmental agency still wants to regulate methane. This means the EPA’s regulations may actually lead to more global warming.

The EPA estimates the proposed rules would only cause a temperature drop of 0.0047 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.

“Greater use of clean, affordable natural gas has pushed carbon emissions from power generation to their lowest level in more than 20-years and the industry is already leading the way on methane reductions,” Porter continued.

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups have long claimed that the environmental advantages of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are negated by increased methane emissions.

Methane emissions from the natural gas industry are sharply falling, even though production of natural gas has spiked, according to a survey of scientific studies over the last five years by the firm ICF International. Absolute methane emissions from natural gas fell by 15 percent between 1990 and 2014, and emissions per unit of natural gas produced dropped by 43 percent over the same period.

The biggest cause of declining carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is America’s fracking boom, not solar or wind power, according to a study published last November by the Manhattan Institute.

The study shows that solar power is responsible for a mere 1 percent of the decline in American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 1,022 million tons, making them significantly lower than their peak in 2007. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons.

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